Welcome to the very first episode of Ask Me! Here’s the first set of questions… I got some good ones!
Are you registered? I realize you don’t have to be to work, but I wondered if you went that far right away.
The first thing I did was get a tax ID number. I didn’t want to be caught in a tax issue with the government, so this was official business step number one. I did do this almost immediately upon deciding I would accept money for my photography. You will want to check into the specifics of your local tax laws to know exactly what you should be charging tax on.
I didn’t actually get a DBA (doing business as) through the county until a long while later, when I was setting up a business checking account. You don’t need a DBA to operate as a business, but it is cheap and super easy to do, so don’t let the idea of having one overwhelmed you.
How did you go about setting yourself up and marketing online? I know you used a Google Ads sort of thing and a blog, but do you have a website particularly for your information and online ordering; like an e-commerce site?
This is a big question! Let me see the best way to structure it.
1. Website and blog. These are the two biggest things. I think anybody who doesn’t have a blog set up is making a big mistake. Blogs are a great way to show not only your most recent work, but show your personality as well. I have had so many clients mention things they’ve read on my blog, that they’ve connected with me on. My current website is a template from bludomain.com, and I honestly chose it because it was inexpensive and fast, two things that were important to me at the time that I set it up. I hope to make some changes to my site in the future, but with my schedule currently, I don’t have the time! My blogger is set up on blogger.com, and I’ve customized a layout to better fit what I wanted. I find it extremely easy to set up and to use.
2. I currently self-fufill all print orders from my clients. My website has a shopping cart that clients can use while viewing their proofs, and the orders are sent to me, and then I place an order with my professional printing company. There are many, MANY, options out there for print fulfillment and basically it’s ‘different strokes for different folks’. I am actually investigating a few options right now, and hope to make a change soon! I will definitely post about it once I make the switch.
3. As far as paid advertisement online, I have done very little in the scheme of things. I have dabbled a little with facebook ads, but found them to be pretty unsuccessful for me. I also advertise through weddingchicks.com, and offbeatbride.com, two sites that I felt were hand in hand with elements of what I offer with my photography style. I want to be selective in where I advertise, because I want to stay true to who I am and my art form. A large portion of my business comes from word of mouth referrals and Google searches.
How do you host your pictures? Do you have server space, or do you use a separate website? And do you use a Lightroom web function?
I do have server space. I have used godaddy.com as my hosting space for years, and I’ve always been happy with their service. I host my blogger pictures on my webspace through godaddy and I use an FTP client to upload them. I haven’t used any of Lightroom’s web functions.
To ask me a question about photography techniques or business, shoot me an email at email@example.com!
Very fun post. I love getting to know how other photographers do their thang. 🙂